ALTERNATIVE TIMESHARE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The alternative timeshare market has grown exponentially, due to a failing timeshare market, primarily caused by the greater choice of travel and holidaying options now available to consumers. Timeshare resorts are no longer exclusively used by the Timeshare Owners. Many timeshare resorts now advertise their resorts on travel platforms, such as Trivago, On The Beach, and Expedia.
Many Timeshare Owners see timeshare ownership as a millstone around their necks. With many owners in their golden years, they are desperately seeking ways to terminate their timeshare agreements.
Alternative timeshare companies are often owned or operated by ex-timeshare sales personnel, who are now plying their trade in the alternative timeshare market. With the demise of the timeshare industry, the alternative timeshare market is vigorously targeted towards existing timeshare owners.
REGULATED TIMESHARE CLAIMS
The marketing of alternative products and services is packaged as a termination of an existing timeshare and is then combined with other offerings, to provide perceived value to the alternative timeshare products and services on offer. For example, this may include the promise of getting money back for the mis-selling of the original timeshare. However, claims business in the UK is now a regulated activity and can only be undertaken by a properly authorised and regulated company like us. On 1 April 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) took over the regulation of all UK Claims Management activity. This means that timeshare claims brought under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, against the likes of Barclays Partner Finance, Shawbrook Bank, Hitachi Finance, and Honeycomb, can only be undertaken by an FCA authorised and regulated business.
However, there is a caveat here. Upon the take-over of Claims Management regulation by the FCA, the FCA allowed previously unauthorised companies to apply for regulation under the new regime. This gave rise to many companies being granted ‘temporary permission’ to conduct regulated claims business. They were allowed to carry out claims work under their ‘temporary permission’, until such time as they are granted full authorisation. It has now been more than twelve months since the new Claims Management regime has been in place, and many of our competitors are still waiting for their full authorisation to be granted. For many, they will never receive FCA authorisation, because they cannot meet the extremely high standards of compliance required by the FCA.
There is good reason to ensure that you exercise caution when choosing who to trust with your timeshare claim; a company with ‘temporary permission’ is a company who have NOT yet attained or demonstrated that they can operate to standards expected of them by the FCA and have failed to do so over a period in excess of 12 months.
To check the status of any FCA registered business is simple, just follow this link https://register.fca.org.uk/ and input the business name.
There is a common factor with most alternative timeshare companies, and that is the requirement to pay for their products and services upfront, usually having sat through a similar presentation to that of a timeshare purchase. Timeshare owners are already familiar with the presentation process and the promises and spin of a timeshare-based sales pitch. Alternative timeshare products are often nothing more than promises based upon a perceived value, with a promise of timeshare termination and a guaranteed success in a claim for obtaining financial compensation for timeshare mis-selling. Promises and guarantees of success in gaining financial compensation is, in itself, a case for mis-selling. No-one can predict with any certainty that a claim will be successful at the point of sale, with often very little information available to assess the true claim potential of a claim.
Over the past 5 years, we have seen many alternative timeshare companies emerge, mainly operating outside of the UK and they are based in Europe. Many of them were merely ‘boiler room’ scams that were set up to target the timeshare market with unsustainable products and services, only to later disappear into the sunset. The internet is awash with credible looking websites making many promises, all too good to be true, but, nevertheless, timeshare owners are persuaded to deal with these unscrupulous companies, because they like what they hear and the sales pitch is so very plausible.
Two such companies that have been prolific sellers of credit based alternative timeshare products are Eze Group and Monster Travel, which were both based predominantly off-shore in Tenerife. The concept was based upon the purchase of ‘credits’ which could be traded against all sorts of lifestyle, leisure and, discount travel products and services. One of the main inducements for timeshare owners was the promise of massively discounted travel and accommodation. The reality was that no such discounts could ever be obtained and the price for this perceived valuable benefit was a large upfront payment of tens of thousands of pounds. Again, the added benefit on offer also included a timeshare termination. It is easy to see why timeshare owners would be persuaded to purchase such products because the alternative product ticked all the boxes.
Mercantile Claims hold a full FCA regulation, which was granted to us by the FCA on the 19 February 2020 and, to date, we are the only company specialising in timeshare products to be fully authorised. We can assist you in making a financial claim.